Coming Home to Sicily is a gorgeous cookbook. The coauthor and her husband, the photographer, spent a year at Fabrizia Lanza's estate in Sicily, where she runs a cooking school. All of the food used in the book is either sustainably grown or wild. The book follows the seasons at Case Vecchie, so it begins with Winter, where they make Orange and Lemon Marmalade, and Lemon and Tangerine Sorbet. There is a Blood Orange Salad with Red Onion and Black Olives.
After Winter, the book moves on to The Holidays which is when they make Stuffed Brioche. Fried Stuffed Eggs, and Chicken Galantine. There is stuffed Turkey, and Filled Fig Cookies. Stewed Lamb, and beautiful vegetarian dishes like Kale and Potato Soup with Fresh Mint and Parsley, and Saffron Stewed Potatoes. The book shows you how to make Sheep Milk's cheese, and classics such as Ricotta Gnocchi.
Spring brings Fava Bean Soup, Wild Fennel Salad, Roasted Artichokes, and Frittella with Artichokes and Fava Beans. There are of course, recipes that are interesting to read, but that you likely will not make. For example, Fried Tuna Sperm, and the several day Summer process of making tomato paste (I don't think I could do that at my casa with all the insects we have outside in the summer, not to mention cats jumping on the tables). The Tomato and Onion Salad looks divine, as does the Eggplant Caponata. I will make Giovanna's Vegetable Stew at the first possible moment, as well as the Zucchini Soup with Tender Greens. The Fall brings in the grapes, and Pan-Roasted Rabbit with Vino Cotto, a recipe I can appreciate even though I don't cook rabbit.
Even though I mainly cook and eat vegetarian, I actually prefer cookbooks such as this beautifully photographed book. The best vegetarian recipes come from long standing traditional recipes. This book is an important historical work as well, since doing things the slow, seasonal, old fashioned way is rapidly dying out in many parts of the world. It is nice to not have these traditions and recipes lost to future generations. It would be a dream to attend the cooking school in Sicily, but for those of us who can't, we can cook our way through it at home.
For the armchair cook, this book is a delight with the stories of the people on the estate, and the bounty of food produced there. A random bit of delightful reading that caught my eye: "Now it is my turn to host Easter in Case Vecchie's courtyard. My children hide the chocolate eggs for the younger ones, and a crowd of friends and family come to share a feast of anelletti with tomato sauce and ricotta, herb-rubbed lamb ribs, roasted artichokes, of course, and a huge cassata. The artichokes are roasted in the coals of the grill while the lamb ribs and coils of sausage cook above."